Well, we'd been married for 6 months, and the time for the Honeymoon was finally upon us. We couldn't book it straight away due to money constraints and booking holiday off work, so we moved our 2 week holiday to October/November, and booked some flights to Osaka.
Rather than rush over to the airport at stupid o'clock in the morning, we booked the Travelodge in Manchester for the night before. We went for dinner in Hard Rock Cafe Manchester, and took a cab all the way out to the airport, where he dropped us off at Travelodge. When we got there, they couldn't find our booking, and it transpired that it never went through :( Panic! The lovely lady at the reception called all the other hotels in the area, while we paid a ridiculous amount for the internet, finding that one hotel had a room for £100 that night. Manchester United were playing Manchester City the next day, so everything was booked.
So after a lot of panic and tears, we got a second taxi over to the other hotel, paid and collapsed in the bed for the night.
Next morning we wandered over to the airport nice and early. We got through the check in queues with no problem at all and passed passport control ready to have a Burger King (our little tradition at Manchester Airport). Alas! There is no longer a Burger King, so we had to have overpriced scrambled egg and undercooked bacon at some little cafe thing. They didn't even have any balsamic or lemon pepper! >:(
We had never experienced Duty Free before, so we asked for some guidance from the chap in the shop. He told us we could have a litre of spirits each and 500 cigarettes. As we don't smoke, we picked a bottle of Bombay Sapphire, and a bottle of Bacardi Oakheart. He put them in a bag with the receipts and sent us on our way.
After grabbing a paper and calling my mum to say goodbye, we boarded a plane for Paris Charles De Gaulles. Neither of us had ever flew through Paris before, so it was quite exciting, and there were enough seats free that we could sit together. The lovely lady beside us talked to us and congratulated us on our Honeymoon, and we had touched down in Paris before we even realised.
Paris airport isn't the nicest. There are shuttle coaches from one terminal to the other, but the bossy way that they make you board, instead of assuming everyone isn't an idiot was a bit annoying. We only wanted to go from D>E or something like that, but apparently they have to hold our hand all the way. At least we didn't have to pick up our luggage.
Unfortunately, at passport control in Paris, the Duty Free that we had picked up in Manchester caused a stir. They hadn't sealed the bags!! The people at Paris were most unhappy with this, and sent Richard back to check it into the luggage in the hold. It took him over an hour to get through the service desk and back through passport control, and as it turned out, it had cost him &eur;30 for the box, and &eur;70 to check it into the hold as we'd already checked 2 bags! This was absolutely ridiculous, not the fault of Paris CDG at all, but Manchester, who hadn't sealed it. I was furious and I wish that Richard had just left the two bottles (they only cost us £20) but we were now around £190 out of pocket so far on the honeymoon, with the hotel room and now this!
The plane we were due to get on had been well into the boarding process by this point, but luckily was running well behind, so we joined the queue and got to our seats as by no means the last passengers. We had opted for 2 seats in the middle 4, as having to climb over/be climbed over by the 3rd person on the window seats is never fun. The flight to Japan was uneventful - we slept, watched some films (Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Little Miss Sunshine, Fargo) and drank some wine. The food was standard KLM fare, nothing too exciting but not terrible either, and as we touched down in Japan we were only slightly tired. Passport control was fine this time (last time, we'd filled the forms in pencil as that was what we were given, but that was wrong so we had to re-queue) and I actually got to go through a line that said "Native Japanese Only" as the foreigner line was crowded. I'll probably never do that again!
The first place we'd decided to stay was Onomichi, which was 3/4 of the way to Hiroshima. We should probably have thought better about travelling so far just after touching down, but hey, it was too late now. We got our JR passes, booked our Shinkansen ticket, and got on the train!
We changed at Fukuyama and transferred to the JR line, with a 20 minute walk to the hotel ahead of us. It wasn't too bad, we did end up on the wrong road a couple of times, but once we'd seen Mos Burger, the hotel was practically next door. Upon arrival the friendly staff at the Kokusai Hotel allowed us to check in straight away and go straight to our room. Once checked in we wandered out again, just to have a little look at the area. A little way down the road was a Kappa Zushi, which is a favourite fast food sushi-go-round of mine, so we mentally booked that for dinner and went back for a nap. On the way back we called at a convenience store, and there was a Hello Kitty raffle thing that had a ton of items in Pink Leopard Print, so I had a go and won some really cute fluffy socks!
When it got to dinner time, we went to Kappa Zushi, where the locals looked at us with wonder, small children made no attempt to hide their stares and the old people smiled at us unreservedly. Oh how much I had missed you, Japan! The best thing about Kappa Zushi was that they have changed the ordering system, and it's now not delivered by a waiter/waitress, a shinkansen model comes along the track beside you, and delivers the plates to your seat! We ate our fill and headed back to the hotel, where we went to the bar, taking all of the pamphlets we'd collected with us.
When we'd checked into the hotel, we had been given some vouchers for a whiskey sour (whiskey and soda) so we started off with those, then moved on to Guinness and bourbon. The waiter was very nice and started asking us questions like "Why have you come to Onomichi" and the like. He also showed us the best place in Onomichi to have Onomichi Ramen (which is very famous!) so we drew that on a map, planned tomorrow's excursion and retired to bed.
The next morning we woke up pretty early and went to a convenience store to get some breakfast. We had decided we were going to do the tour of the temples in Onomichi, so we set off at around 8am! We stopped halfway to eat our breakfast, and the heat was still sweltering so we sat and had a rest, admiring the tiny little winding streets that we were lost in. It's really a gorgeous thing, with a really safe path as it's been resurfaced to attract tourists. Once we got to the cable cars (called a Ropeway in Japan) we decided to ride up to the top of the hillside to see the walk of Buddhism. We didn't understand any of the writing (I couldn't be bothered to translate handwriting) but boy was it pretty!
After the walk, we took the ropeway back down (I didn't realise that poor Milf was terrified) and wandered over the main road, to Shukaen for Ramen. It must've been around 11:45, and there wasn't a queue when we got there, so we paid for our Ramen and received a token and waited for the deliciousness. It was everything I had imagined and more! We slurped our way through the bowls and left, only to find outside that the queue went right down the street! I guess we turned up at exactly the right time.
We went for a walk through the shopping area, purchasing a couple of mementos, and we stopped off for a coffee at a gorgeous little coffee shop which had a Mexican theme. The lady working there was amazing, and she taught me how to say "chilli pepper" in Japanese, while serving us the most amazing Jamaican coffee. There were several visitors came and went while we were there, and a lot of them commented on my tattoo, and congratulated us on our honeymoon. She took a couple of drinks off the bill for us, and handed me a cute little sachet of chilli flakes with sesame for seasoning my food.
We returned to the hotel and got changed for dinner. We had decided to go to an Izakaya to eat, as you don't actually have to eat much, you can just drink and we were still rather full from earlier. We researched some in the brochures, before deciding on one near the station. When we got there, it turned out to be a seafood izakaya and poor Milf was never going to eat anything there! We got given 2 bowls of octopus and 2 beers and it cost us &jpy;2000! (£20) so we left and went to the one closer to the station that we'd seen before. Boy were we glad we did! We had a few beers, some amazing food and then we noticed the "SUPER JOCKY" posters that advertised 3 normal glasses worth of beer! Whoops, 2 of those later we'd finally had enough, so we walked back to the hotel (Milf ran ahead early as he needed a wee, so I took blurry drunk photos of everything I could find) and we went back up to the bar.
In the bar there was one guy who knew a fair bit of English, so we sat with him and talked, while I sampled gin after gin and Milf had some whiskey bought for him. Massive mistake said our hangover the next morning...